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If you live in Australia you no doubt have heard about the comments of radio announcer, Alan Jones over the weekend.  You may have also heard that the response of some of the radio programs advertisers could be costing the station more than $80,00 a day in lost advertising revenue.

But are you aware of the fall out for one particular advertiser, “Woolworths” due to actions of a staff member at the same meeting and their subsequent handling of the negative customer comments on social media?  I don’t want to get into (another) debate over whether Woolworths actions are ‘right or wrong’ but rather pose the question about “How should Woolworths be responding on social media?”.

The company response to the tirade of angry comments on their facebook page to date has been well…. no response.  Woolworths have not stopped comments on their page (see them in action here: https://www.facebook.com/woolworths ) but nor are they responding.  There has been a stock standard media release issued by the company that only seems to have fueled the messages.

But what should Woolies do?  If they stop comments then are they seen to be limiting free speech and expression of their customers opinions?  If they continue to allow comments but make no response is this doing them more harm than good?

General consensus amongst our social media contacts is that the worst possible response to negative comments that a company can make is to immediately remove all offending posts.  As Rachel Strella, in her article “Social Media & the Consumer: How to Handle Negative Feedback” over at SocialMediaToday.com stated, “The only thing worse than deleting comments would be to respond defensively and thus initiating a battle with the audience.  I highly recommend not deleting negative feedback unless it’s an extreme circumstance such as inappropriate language or lewd comments”.

Woolworths invites comments and participation on their Facebook page and, on their website, even encourages customers to connect on Facebook to “Tell us how can our people make your visit to Woolies better?”.

So while Woolworths has given their audience free reign to voice their opinion, and displeasure, all over their Facebook Page, by allowing a barrage of negative comments to be posted without responding, to my mind, they are not only allowing untold damage to their brand, but inflaming the situation.

So what should Woolworths do?

Really the question is what should Woolworths have ‘done’?  No business should even commence social media marketing without first having a strategy and policy in place with a clearly defined process to follow when negative feedback is received.  A plan for brand reputation and management must extend to social media and internet properties generally.  This is important not onlyto protect your business brand but from a legal liability point of view as well.  Check out this great guest post on The Creative Collective blog by Jamie White from Pod Legal on “Your Legal Obligations When it Comes to Facebook”.

In the aftermath of a public relations nightmare though, remaining silent can be a critical error in judgement.  Ms Strella sums it up this way, “Don’t ignore the feedback, either. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away any more than deleting it.” Instead Sharon recommends, as I do, that a business acknowledge the feedback in a way that either seeks to better understand the situation or simply as a way of being seen to care enough to respond, explaining “When done correctly, acknowledging negative feedback and responding appropriately is an opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service. How a business handles negative feedback says volumes about the integrity of the business and how much the business values its customers.”

It may come as a surprise then that the majority of Businesses respond to negative comments on social media exactly the way Woolworths have on this occasion.  A recent study by Satmetrix®, highlights that the majority of organizations of all sizes across B2C and B2B are blind to the opportunities and threats of social media.

According to Richard Owen, CEO of Satmetrix, “Businesses recognize the need for a social media strategy, however many are challenged in putting an effective strategy in place. While 77 percent of consumers post about products, 67 percent of businesses have no means of measuring what is being said, and less than one in 20 have any insight into the sentiment of what is being said. This is both a huge threat and a massive lost opportunity. Not only are companies running the risk of losing customers by not addressing their issues shared online, but they are also walking past the opportunity to capitalize on positive comments made on the social web.”

And yes, even in this case, there are positive customer comments that are not being capitalised on.  In amongst the flood of negative posts about Woolworths perceived support of Alan Jones, there are a smattering of thank you posts from happy customers.  On one of these posts, thanking staff for helping a customer that was unwell, there have been 1358 ‘likes’.  Of the 69 comments (to date) some have been negative but when these referenced the ‘Jones Affair’, many page members asked that the topic remain on that of the original (positive) post.

Several of the comments were from Woolworths staff members that it appears are feeling somewhat helpless and without a voice.  There is a community of people waiting to support Woolworths, ready to post when there is something positive they can contribute to but not wanting to be drawn into the Alan Jones fallout posts that have taken over the page.

There’s a great post here by Mike McGrail on “How to Handle Negative feedback on Social Media“.  But, in this case specifically, what should Woolies do?  I will leave the advice to their lawyers now but, if they were to ask me, I’d advise them to start talking. By finding their voice in the face of negative feedback they may well empower their community to find theirs as well.  At the very least the community will know they have been heard and Woolworths will have exercised their right of reply.  In the end that’s what social media is really about – a two way flow of information and open expression of ideas and opinions.

At the moment this conversation is one sided due to Woolworths intentional lack of response. It pays to remember which part of your anatomy points to the sky when you bury your head in the sand.

Do you agree? Disagree? What should Woolworths do?  As always we invite comments, encourage sharing and often respond.

 

That may seem like a strange title for a blog post but recently Mark and I were getting ready for a long weekend with family. We live in a beautiful part of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, and quite often, especially on public holidays, family chose to make the most of our great location and visit, as was the case on that long weekend.

We decided it was beautiful sunny weather so we would go upstairs and clean our rooftop terrace so that we could spend some time up there on the deck. Mark came home from shopping and realized that I was still on the terrace and had been up there for quite some time. He came upstairs and asked, “What are you doing?” I was inside the spa bath, that we have on the terrace, and I said, “I’m just cleaning the spa.”  When he said “You’ve been there for so long! I quickly responded “I know because I need to make sure it’s perfectly clean.”

Mark reminded me that “it’s our family, they really don’t mind” and, without hesitation responded, “but my Grandson will be in the spa.”

I expected that our daughter was likely to  bring our 4-month old grandson up into the spa bath – they use it as kind of mini-swimming pool for him to help him soak: he loves his baths ;-) And it struck me that the way I approached the cleaning and preparation was totally different when I realized that my brand-new grandson would be in that spa.

It really made me start thinking about priorities and how that reflects in everything we do in life but particularly in our businesses. I thought to myself “Wow, would I recommend my products and services to people that I love?” Would I sell to my Grandson?

No, I am not saying here that your product and service must be suitable for your grandson. I can assure you that Reece has no interest or understanding of my social media marketing training, nor any use for it, and I understand that several of my clients have products and services that would be completely unsuitable for their grandchildren. But, think about it, if the people you love, your family members, your best friend, your colleagues: if they were looking for your product or service, would you recommend YOU?

Are you really the best in your field? Are you providing the best service that you possibly can?

Why that has become so vitally important, and why I’m asking you to put your products and services under a microscope is because social media will magnify whatever you are in terms of your business, service and product strengths. If you have fantastic customer service and you’re offering a great product at the right price, with sensational followup then social media will magnify that. You’ll get wonderful third party testimonials and viral recommendations that would be mainly positive. In fact in marketing terms, we all go searching for that holy grail of viral third party endorsement.

If however, your business is lacking in any areas, perhaps you’ve been really busy and your follow up is not so great or you have certain staff members that maybe aren’t that great in dealing with the public or are cutting corners – that also will be magnified by social media. But when corners are cut, or your businesses are not performing, then your social media presence would be mainly negative.

If you know already that you’re not quite keeping up with demand, your prices are too high or value too low, your quality is not where it should be, CHANGE IT. If you wouldn’t recommend your products and services to the people that you love most in the world, why should you be promoting it to anybody else?

Think about how you would act, how you would feel, and how you would care for your customers if they were your 4-month old grandchild about to get into the spa bath. Would you clean it differently? Would you provide a different service? Would you go above and beyond and care just a little bit more? Because your ideal target client, the client that you wish you had thousands of, is deserving of that level of service and care.

You have to strive to be the best in your field – I’m not saying that you are going to please everybody all the time. The very nature of working with the public means I find that impossible, but unless you strive to provide the very best possible service that you can to your clients then, quite frankly, you shouldn’t be in business and you definitely should not be using social media.

Social media will magnify your brand, purpose, intent, service and support. So make sure that what it’s magnifying is positive.

Have an awesome week!

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales have come and gone for another year but in it’s wake this year I have been left with not only an empty credit card but an empty mailbox!  Today’s events have shown me how crucial customer service is to the success of your social media marketing and in fact your business success in general.  Let me explain…..

I’m a sale junkie (ask Mark)!  I’m prepared to plan, research (a lot), plot and wait to get the ultimate bargain.  In fact I hate buying anything that’s not on sale.  I don’t consider myself ‘cheap’ but rather savvy enough to want to get the ultimate value for my dollar, particularly when this is on discretionary goods (ie things I want rather than need).

So was the case with buying Mark a new Digital SLR for Christmas. For anybody following us, you know we were recently married and have held the honeymoon off until the end of the year.  So, with a month long holiday to capture, Mark’s camera became the focus of my bargain hunting activities.

I signed up for Cyber Monday updates, I was on all the mailing lists – I had done my research. I was on watch lists and deal alerts so, when I saw a great package for a Canon camera pack (2 lenses, case etc) at Target, I knew it was fantastic value.  A quick skype conversation to Mark to confirm he was willing to move from Nikon to Canon, and the deal was done.

I knew I needed to make a fast decision to take advantage of a deal that represented hundreds of dollars in savings.  Order placed online, credit card provided, order confirmation received, and camera was on it’s way – or so I THOUGHT?!?!

That afternoon, I received a call from my bank to confirm that this purchase was a legitimate transaction on my credit card as I was using our USA address for shipping (we are global citizens with businesses, addresses and telephone numbers in several countries).  All confirmed and camera was on it’s way – or so I THOUGHT?!?!?

The next day, after 3 emails confirming my order and showing me how to track it’s progress online, I received an email from Target headed, “Your order was canceled.”  The email stated simply, “There was a problem with your order…. as a result, we had to cancel it.  Still want the items you ordered? We can help. Just contact us”. So I used the link to their online form to contact them, thinking the bank authorisation may have been the ‘problem’, to have the order re-processed and the camera would be on it’s way – or so I THOUGHT?!?!?!?

That’s where the frustration and complete lack of customer service begins!  I’ll give you the short version to save your sanity and make my point.  Some 4 emails, 10 Twitter messages and Facebook posts later – we do not have a camera on it’s way to us or the money back on our credit card.  What has infuriated me the most is that 3 days later, the camera is still available for sale on their website at the same price!

So you have to ask, was this really such a great deal or are there hundreds or thousands of “us” out there that have given Target our money for orders that are never going to arrive?

There has been considerable backlash on social media about cancelled orders and orders that are not going to be delivered for 6-8 weeks (well after Christmas).  The social media team has stopped responding – Big Mistake – HUGE MISTAKE!

Now disgruntled customers like me are taking a small legitimate complaint to the internet and making a very big deal out of it.

This could have been handled (I believe) in one well crafted ‘personalised’ email with an explanation, apology and here’s how you get your money back information.  A gift card with ‘please do not let this stop you from shopping with us in the future’ would probably have prompted a blog post and social media exposure on how to turn a bad customer experience around!

Instead I’m writing this post and investigating where else to buy the camera from immediately.  I still have not received an explanation as to why the order was cancelled let alone an apology and/or solution.  Target still has a hold on the funds from my credit card and has not offered to ship the order even though the camera remains for sale on their website – what tha?

To top it off, the only non-pro forma email I have received advised me “Don’t worry” the charge will “drop off your account in the next few business days.”  BUT “If the charge does show up on your next statement, please get in touch

Hmmm - Is This Customer Service?

with us right away.” SERIOUSLY that’s what it said (see screen shot).

 

How do you think I feel about shopping with Target ever again?  Do you think I would recommend them to family and friends? I have spend thousands of dollars with them in the past – my Son even works for them!  But I have turned from loyal customer to anti-target campaigner in one bad transaction.

Hmm what would you say to Target if you were me? And, more importantly, what are your customers saying about your business and service? And how are you responding?

I ask that last question because I believe, from their side, Target does not feel they have done anything wrong.  For their own (unexplained) operational reasons, they cancelled an order they could not deliver, they will process a refund to my card and I can then go and buy a different product or from somewhere else.

BUT, put yourself in my shoes, or in the shoes of your client, and you see a disappointed, disgruntled person that has paid for an order that was cancelled without notice or explanation, now does not have the camera for a very important occasion, does not have the funds to go and buy elsewhere while sale prices are available, has been frustrated by lack of a personal response on the medium that I chose to order on (online) and am now venting my grievance on social media.

So there is the lesson in this for all business owners.  Put yourself in your client’s shoes and then respond as you would want to be treated.  Take the time to understand their grievances – truly listen and then respond in a personal fashion on the medium that is most convenient for them – not you.

In the era of digital commerce and two-way conversations on Social Media – mass automated, non-committal responses pumped out to prompt customers to chase you for service is simply “Right OFF Target”.

Oh and Target if you are listening,  I’d love you to chose to turn this experience around and happy to report back on the blog if you do….. we’re waiting.

Mark, this means I’m back to looking for the ‘perfect’ camera deal for you – sorry don’t blame me, blame Target!

 

Tell Us….
Have you had a terrible customer experience?  What did you learn from it to improve your own business? Or how could the company have turned your bad experience around?
We’d love you comments below or on twitter at:
www.twitter.com/MarkandZoe
or share with our Facebook Community at:
www.facebook.com/MarkandZoe

Have an awesome day, I’m off camera shopping…….

 

There had been much hype over the last few days about the number of Facebook users dropping  in a few markets.

It was claimed that users in the US declined  from  155.2 million at the start of May to 149.4 million at the end of the month, and that its’ user numbers in Britain fell by more than 100,000 too.

I wonder if the entities making the claims expect everybody in those countries to sign up for Facebook?

More than half the population in the US and the UK have already done so, so one would imagine that, like any market, Facebook will find its’ level in time.  Does that mean that Facebook is going the way of My Space?

Let’s take a look at the numbers – Facebook is heading for 700 million users. More than half of the current users – somewhere over 600 million – log in every day. Average time spent on the site is between 23 and 55 minutes (*1).   With an average of 130 friends (*2) It’s hard to imagine that all those users are suddenly going to abandon it anytime soon. I think many would  find it harder to give up than smoking.

Despite all the criticism about privacy settings and the amount of information Facebook commands, the numbers continue to grow. The reason – Facebook is a social site and we humans like nothing more than to socialise. More and more users share their thoughts, their actions, their likes and their hates with millions of other users.

Is it any wonder that “Angel investors and venture capitalists have showered hundreds of millions of dollars on entrepreneurs with an idea for a new social networking business, but the money is parcelled among thousands of developers.

This is not the dotcom era of a decade ago when you had to invest heavily in servers and computer storage, and blow a wad on marketing to win visitors to your site. Now you pay-as-you-go, renting computers in the vast data warehouses created by the likes of Amazon, while marketing takes care of itself thanks to enthusiastic early users sharing their experience. *3.

Facebook – not so liked and less friends – I think not.

What do you think?   –   Mark

  1. http://www.quora.com/How-much-time-does-the-average-user-spend-on-Facebook
    2. http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
    3. Stephen Foley in “The Independent” 15/6/11.

 

*Footnote from Zoe

Facebook have been clamping down on dual profiles, particularly where users are setting up a profile for their personal use and then another to promote their business.

I can’t help but feel that the decline in Unique Users is a result of this action and in fact a very good thing.  Weeding out fake accounts and duplicates can only serve to strengthen the use by existing members.

If you currently have both a personal profile and a PROFILE for your business then you need to convert your business profile to a business PAGE immediately.  If Facebook locates your duplicate accounts they will delete both profiles!  And all your hard work in building these will be gone.

The difference between a profile and a page is that people request to be your ‘Friend’ on a profile while members chose to ‘Like’ your page.

Need help with fixing your Facebook structure – let us know in the comments below or pop on over to our Social Media advice Facebook Page at:

www.facebook.com/SocialMediaShortCut

And check out our live trainings to help you market your business with Social Media – the right way!

www.SocialMediaShortCut.com/events

Many of us love sharing our photos with the World when we post these on Facebook but do you really want a computer program automatically telling the World who you are based on images posted on the site?

Facebook have been rolling out a face recognition feature for some time, but today it was released outside the USA for the first time.  Called “Tag Suggestions” the software tries to match names with people in photos you upload to the site.

It is turned ON by default – so this is an opt out feature rather than an opt in one.

How does it work?

It scans the faces of people in tagged pictures and matches the data against other pictures so users can tag them automatically. On your facebook settings page the explanation of the feature appears like this:

This feature uses a comparison of photos you’re tagged in to suggest that friends tag you in new photos.

You’re always in control of your tags on Facebook:

  • Only friends can tag you in photos
  • We’ll notify you when a friend has tagged you
  • You can remove a friend’s tag at any time
  • Tag suggestions are based only on photos you’ve allowed yourself to be tagged in

For some of you, this may be another feature of the social media site that you would like to have some fun with. For others, it may be something you are aghast at.  So, if you want to put a paper bag over your face…..book, there is a way to do it and here it is:

  1. Go to the “Account” tab in the top right hand corner
  2. Click on “Privacy settings”
  3. Click “Customise settings” (bottom centre of page)
  4. Scroll down to “Things others share”
  5. Click “Edit settings” next to “Suggest photos of me to friends”
  6. Choose “Disable”  from the drop down
  7. Click “Okay” in the bottom right hand corner.

 


Remember that you are in control of all the settings on your Facebook page and you should ensure that the settings are as you want them.  So while you are in your account privacy settings take time to review and decide how all of your information is shared and with whom.

Your privacy is at stake and, like putting a seat belt on when you get into a car, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself.

Share this with everyone you know on Facebook and let us know if you chose to leave this feature on or not.

Discover the Top 10 Secrets to Maximising Social Media Marketing for Business

We know many business owners are in overwhelm mode when it comes to social media right now, all furiously trying to keep up with never ending changes, system updates, apps, tools, releases and spending excessive amounts of time on social networks, without necessarily enjoying the rewards for their efforts.

Others are not even on Social Media networks at all – and if you’re not – you should be. No, as business owners, you HAVE to be (it’s no longer an option if you want to be competitive in the marketplace).

I’m hearing more and more that you’re just plain stressed by social media!

But Where Do I Start?

As a Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Sales Professional or Marketer -  you see the power of Social Media Marketing to grow your business.
You know you should be doing something to embrace Social Media as part of your overall marketing strategy – BUT are you totally confused about WHERE TO START and HOW?

Are you concerned that if you “Do” Social Media Marketing the wrong way – it could actually do more harm than good for your business?

What if you could be shown EXACTLY how to, not only get started with social media marketing, but how to maximise social media to grow your business the RIGHT way.

All without a huge investment of time or money?  Then this is for you……

SocialMediaShortcut Team presents – “Secret Social Media Business”

 

“Secret Social Media Business” seminars are being held throughout July:

12-July-2011 – Secret Social Media Business Seminar – Sunshine Coast – Morning Session
12-July-2011 – Secret Social Media Business Seminar – Sunshine Coast – Evening Session
15-July-2011 – Secret Social Media Business Seminar – Brisbane
22-July-2011 – Secret Social Media Business – Sydney

Top 10 Secrets to using Social Media Marketing for Business
 

 

VIP Admission – $77.00 (incl GST)
Admission for 1 pax with Front Row seating & Secret Social Media Business Cheat Sheet to take home.

 

Regular Admission – $47.00 (incl GST)
Admission for 1 pax with general seating only.

Learn the Secrets to using Social Media Marketing to grow your Business without it taking over your life:

  • Overview of Social Media Marketing and how it can benefit your business
  • Secret to marketing your business in Social Media the RIGHT way
  • The top 4 social media networks for business and the Secret to finding which ones are best suited to your business and why
  • Secrets to understanding the language of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube – what does it all mean and what are the biggest mistakes to avoid?
  • Secret to positioning your business in Social Media professionally and customing your social media sites to incorporate your branding
  • Secret to promoting your business using Social Media – including the rules/regulations of each site (get this wrong and your social media accounts could be shut down!)
  • Secrets on what to post about (and importantly what not to post about) for maximum interaction/results
  • Secret timing stats on when and how often to post for maximum engagement and secrets sites to find content quickly and easily
  • Secret to online reputation management, customer engagement and handling feedback (good and bad)
  • Your Next Steps (you’re on Social Media – now what?)
  • Top Secret to getting all this achieved in the minimum amount of time!

Training by Zoe deLuca - for those of you that don’t know me….

Introducing Your Social Media Mentor – Zoe deLuca

Zoe is a Social Media Marketing Specialist, Speaker, Trainer, Manager and Internet Entrepreneur, operating multiple businesses from her laptop while travelling the World.

With a Twitter following in excess of 50,000, over 60,000 views of her training videos on YouTube plus thousands of friends on Facebook & Linkedin, it’s no wonder she was recently selected to attend the “10for10″ internet marketing training intensive in
New York.

Zoe and her partner Mark, are based on the Sunshine Coast and operate a full service Social Media Marketing Consultancy with clients around the Globe. Zoe is the Social Media Specialist at “The Creative Collective”.  Zoe draws on her experience over the last 3 years of using Social Media Marketing to grow her own businesses and is perfectly positioned as a business owner that has figured out how to maximise Social Media for Business results.

During the “Secret Social Media Business” presentation, Zoe will explain all the ins and outs of the top social media networks, how to manage your social media marketing quickly and easily and, most importantly, how to get the maximum results for your business. Exposing the top 10 Secrets to Social Media Success to get you started in Social Media Marketing – the RIGHT WAY.

“Secret Social Media Business” seminars are being held throughout July:

12-July-2011 – Secret Social Media Business Seminar – Sunshine Coast
15-July-2011 – Secret Social Media Business Seminar – Brisbane
22-July-2011 – Secret Social Media Business – Sydney

Only a few weeks to go for the first of the events, so book now to secure your place!

Stop wasting time messing around on Social Media and discover “Secret Social Media Business” – you and your business deserve this!

See you soon…….

PS Hit the ‘Like’ button or ‘Tweet’ button (If you don’t know what that means you will be the end of the training)  – after all it feels good to share ;-)

Facebook is continually changing and quite often the changes can be challenging if you are a business owner trying to market on the platform. But I’m loving “New Facebook Share” features.

Did you know you can now share a post  not only onto your own profile wall, but to a GROUP or to a specific “Friends” wall?

The HUGE news is when you are using Facebook “AS a Page” your specific ‘friends’ walls are those of the Business PAGES that you’ve liked. YES – page to page sharing! Woohoo!

My video explains how and why you would want to use this feature to Market your business effectively on Facebook:

Need help understanding Social Media Marketing for your Business? – then join our trainings at:
http://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaShortCut?sk=events

Let us know what you think of the new features – leave a comment below or join u son Facebook or Twitter.

 

I was at a work group meeting last week discussing the opportunities for businesses in the “Digital Economy” particularly with the improvement in broadband services across Australia in coming years. It was a real eye opener in terms of how much more innovative businesses are going to have to be to prosper in the next 2-5 years and to maximise the changes in technology.

It also made me realise that Mark and I weren’t really doing this in our own business. That may surprise some of you given that I specialise in Social Media Marketing and am continually updating my skills to stay at the forefront of this rapidly changing media, but what I mean is that our business wasn’t innovating. Our websites had been the same for several years, our services had expanded but really only as a result of customer demand and we have been delivering these services in virtually the same way.

So, back to the title of this post, “The times they are a changing” and it’s time for us to change. But rather than changing “with” the times, as business owners we need to be changing “in front” of the times!  Seeking new opportunities and providing answers to questions that our clients don’t even know they have yet. I’m not talking crystal ball, rainbow and unicorns here but rather seriously considering the possibilities for your business in the digital economy. Who will your clients be? Where will they be located? How will they ‘interact’ with your services? And, most importantly, what will their needs/pain points/wants be?  Only after you have considered this should you then work out how you can best meet these needs and provide your services in the most readily accessible way to your clients in the future.

Already trials are underway of “digital dust” being woven into fabrics to sense changes in our health and report these remotely to doctors. Imagine this technology in food packaging so that your food not only ‘knows’ it’s use by date but transmits this to your fridge to have an order automatically placed via the internet for a replacement product to be delivered to your door! And that’s just the beginning – start thinking about 3 dimensional printing of objects including human organs with ‘ink’ an exact replica of human blood cells and you start to see how far (and how fast) technology is moving!

So what does that mean for our customers and why an I telling you about printing blood cells? As a group, of business, government and educational leaders, we could not come up with an industry that will not be changed by new technology. So as business owners, you need to not only be aware of the changes happening in technology but to start thinking innovatively.

For us, we have decided to “split” our business into two main streams to better service our client base while growing our offerings. This website, www.MarkandZoe.com will be our home base for Entrepreneurs looking to grow a business online. Our focus has always been on teaching “Internet Marketing” strategies but we are expanding this into a complete support site for building your business from anywhere in the World. Mark and I love the fact that we can work our business from our laptops from anywhere we have a reliable internet signal, and now want to share with you how you too can “Make The World Your Office”.

Over the coming weeks we will being adding our top tips and strategies to run a ‘virtual business’ including reviews and training videos on the tools, apps, income streams and services we use in our business. Our innovation is to support all of you that are going to be moving to ‘non-traditional’ business models over the coming years. We see huge changes coming for not only where we chose to work and how we work but, in fact, why we work.  Our plan is to become citizens of the the World not only travelling to every part of the Globe but living in many different places over the next 10 years.

If you are already running, or in the process of establishing, a virtual business we’d love your feedback here on the support you need and questions you have (please leave your comments below).

The second ‘half’ of our business, Social Media Marketing (training, strategy, system design and management), is getting a new home over at www.SocialMediaShortcut.com over the coming weeks. This site has housed our membership group and SocialMediaShortCut training program but, again, with innovation in mind, we are not only expanding our social media services but changing how we deliver these.

We have partnered with The Creative Collective agency and will have the capacity to deliver more regular trainings, social media strategy and system builds across the globe with consultations done via skype and/or video conferencing, and back these up with a new online membership site with monthly training webinars. This will mean that we are able to deliver you the most up to date information on trends and changes to social media marketing AND answer your questions each month via the internet ie without you leaving home! If the timing doesn’t suit your schedule (we are busy business owners after all) then the trainings will be recorded in your membership area.  More details on the monthly webinars will be emailed out to our clients next week, so make sure you have subscribed to our SMSC VIP List at www.SocialMediaShortCut.com for details on how you can access the webinar in May for Free!

The partnership with The Creative Collective opens up a huge group of specialist creative staff to us so that I can do what I do best (and love doing), train and strategise your social media marketing, and then hand the design, technology and management components over to other team members that specialise in these tasks.  We are growing our team of social media managers and I’m delighted to say that Mark and I now have a brilliant assistant, Ms Allsion Todd, supporting us in the day to day running of our business.  In keeping with innovation and maximising new technology, our team are all virtual, and now spread across 4 coutnries with Allison residing in the United States.  After all our clients are from around the Globe and we will be travelling to all parts of it so there are no barriers to where our staff are located (again other than having access to reliable internet connection).

We realise that some of what we share on both websites will overlap – for instance many of our virtual business owners want information on social media marketing,while many of our ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses that we have built social media systems for will benefit from accessing details on our online accouting program etc. When this occurs we will definitely be posting information on both websites and you will notice links to Social Media Marketing (above) here as well.

A good example of this is our upcoming Social Media Marketing for Business Seminars series. Details of these are on the events page on SocialMediaShortCut but we will also have a post here with a link as these will allow you to maximise social media to grow any type of business, whether virtual or ‘traditional’ bricks and mortar.

Our aim is to provide you (our wonderful community) with the information that is most relevent to you achieveing your goals and growing your businesses online. Social Media is becoming integral to our way of life, particularly with the advent of mobile technology, so every business needs to maximise this marketing method. But we understand that not all of you are interested in sharing our journeys around the World, working our business from our laptop, particularly if you are focussed on building clientelle in a specific geographic area and driving traffic to your shop front. Well atleast not right now – but start thinging innovatively and you never know ;-)

So our new structure in a nutshell:

www.MarkandZoe.com is for you if you want to build your business from anywhere, anytime via the internet. Highlighting our top tools, tips and tactics to “Make The World Your Office” and sharing our travels and innovations.

www.SocialMediaShortCut.com is for you if you want to learn how to maximise Social Media Marketing to grow your business. Highlighting our top tools, tips and tactis for “Guiding You Through the Maze of Social Media Marketing” while also keeping you updated on our latest Social Media trainings.

If both services appeal to you, then by all means sign up to both websites.  You will be receiving different e-newsletters and updates but we will alternate these so that you are never bombarded by messages.  Our aim is to provide you with ‘innovative’ cutting edge information to grow your business online and share with you our triumphs and mistakes (so you don’t have to make them) along the way.

So what do you think? Do you like our new plan? Are you changing your business structure in light of new technology? Are you ‘innovating’ in another way? We’d love you feedback below and/or over on our facebook pages.

Some things haven’t changed though – if you like this article please share far and wide with your social networks and, as always, “Have an Awesome Day”.

- Zoe

Ok it may be the best Social Media Marketing Training in Australia and New Zealand

I got carried away because, as Big Kev used to say, I’m excited!!!

In less than two weeks, I get to dust off my SuperGirl cape as we will kick off our ‘Become a Social Media Super Hero’ Australian tour, this time with stops in Auckland and Wellington as well!

We know many business owners are in overwhelm mode when it comes to social media right now, all furiously trying to keep up with never ending changes, system updates, apps, tools, releases and spending excessive amounts of time on social networks, without necessarily enjoying the rewards for their efforts.

Others are not even on Social Media networks at all – and if you’re not – you should be. No, as business owners, you HAVE to be (it’s no longer an option if you want to be competitive in the marketplace).

In the past month on Facebook alone there have been several major updates and their “Pages” are changing completely as from Friday. You can see an overview of some of these changes in this video in a previous post.

We know it’s often not realistic for you to keep up with all of these ongoing developments and articulate them into effective marketing strategies and activities.

I’m hearing more and more that you’re just plain stressed by social media!

That’s where I come in and why I have teamed up with:

  • Wendy Moore, the founder of Savvy Web Women and creator of the Savvy List Building Blog who is the ultimate resource on Facebook, and
  • Yvette Adams, CEO of The Creative Collective, who is a LinkedIn Legend and has thousands of contacts on Facebook and Twitter as well,

to deliver ONE POWER PACKED DAY OF SOCIAL MEDIA IMMERSION to help you
Become a “Social Media Super Hero”.

Whether you are new to social media marketing or are already well on your way, this workshop will make you reach your true ‘super hero’ potential.

Topics covered at the full day Social Media Super Hero workshops include:

  • Recent major updates to all three networks and where it’s going into the future
  • How to professionally position your business, and grow and manage lists on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter
  • How to separate your Business and Personal accounts and why this is so important
  • How to customize your Twitter background, and Facebook Page for professional branding
  • How to obtain your vanity URL on Facebook and why this is so important (it’s more than just a name)
  • What to write about, how to write it and when to post it for maximum results – so it actually gets read
  • Online reputation management including how to handle negative feedback
  • How to know when people are talking ‘about’ you, your company & your products and respond quickly
  • The importance of, and how to design, an effective social media strategy, policies and schedule

and oh so much more!

Yvette Adams will be covering Linkedin, Wendy Moore will cover Facebook and I will share my insider tactics on Twitter that have allowed me to not only build a following in excess of 50,000 people but to connect with key people to create joint ventures, speaking opportunities and (most importantly as business owners) sales!

In fact, this seminar series has been a result of contacts made through Social Media and I originally ‘met’ Yvette when she sought me out for a speaking engagement after finding me on Twitter.

Yes, use Social Media the right way and your best clients and business partners will find you!

We’ll also share our top syndication and scheduling tools to allow you to get the maximum results from social media marketing in the minimum amount of time.

Most importantly all three trainers are business owners that are using Social Media Marketing to effectively grow our own businesses.  While our training has taken place all over the World, we ‘Walk Our Talk’ right here – each and everyday.

We’re not just going to overwhlem you with stats and facts but give you real, actionable steps to take away and immediately apply in your business and we will be drawing on examples from the participants in the room.

We have deliberately kept numbers small for you to get maximum results from the day – so you will need to book quickly before the events sell out!

See when the “Social Media Super Hero” team will be coming to a town near you:

21-Mar-2011 – Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Sydney
22-Mar-2011 –  Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Newcastle
24-Mar-2011 – Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Brisbane
12-Apr-2011 – Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Perth
13-Apr-2011- Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Melbourne
14-Apr-2011 – Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Canberra
18-Apr-2011 – Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Auckland
20-Apr-2011 – Become a Social Media Super Hero Full Day Workshop – Wellington

This is the SOCIAL MEDIA WORKSHOP OF THE YEAR with 3 of Australia’s Tops Social Media trainers giving you 3 times the value of other events.  I do not expect that we will be able to repeat this series as it’s been incredibly difficult to co-ordinate all of our schedules. This could well be your only chance to have all 3 of us training you at the one event.

I hope you can make it and would be delighted if you will help me spread the word by sharing this with your friends, business contacts and, of course, through your existing social media sites!

Only a few weeks to go for sthe first of the events, so book now to secure your place!

Stop wasting time messing around on Social Media and get the training to ‘Become a Social Media Super Hero’ – you and your business deserve this!

See you soon…….

PS Hit the ‘Like’ button or ‘Tweet’ button Super Heros in training – after all it feels good to share ;-)

You have heard about hashtags on Twitter but don’t really understand what they are let alone how you set one up for your event or business?

This video takes you through step by step on what is a Hashtag on Twitter, where do you find out what a hashtag means, how you register your own hash tags (and where), and then how to use this hashtag to grow your community interractions at live events or in support of your business.

In the video I ‘define’ a hash tag of #SMSH for our recent Social Media Super Hero seminars. I consider the setting up of hash tags as a more advanced Twitter training, but you can get my complete Twitter training live by joining me at the “Social Media ShortCut Seminars” – look for the hashtag #SMSC on Twitter ;-)

For full details go to:
http://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaShortCut

My mission is to not just teach you social media marketing to grow your business but to give you the “ShortCut path through the maze of Social Media” getting you the maximum business results from social media marketing in the minimum amount of time!

And watch for the hashtag #SMSC spreading through out Twitter – oh and we’ll use it a lot at the events but I’ll explain more in the events.

Found this video useful? Like all of our Social Media Marketing trainings, please share far and wide. After all it feels good to share ;-)